Let’s take a look at IFRA/EU restrictions on oakmoss, the future of chypres, the reasons why fragrance houses are eschewing chypres, fractional distillation to remove IFRA-forbidden allergens, the use of seaweed to supplement or create an oakmoss base, the type of oakmoss that suppliers make available to perfume houses, and how the fear of still more restrictions in the future is impacting the types of scents that perfume houses are making. A fascinating, highly informative discussion of these issues took place last night on Twitter with several experts chiming in to explain what is going on behind the scenes and its significance. I learnt a considerable amount, particularly regarding the type of oakmoss currently on the market, and I’d like to share that with you here.
Bortnikoff‘s Chypre du Nord is a modern twist on the traditional chypre formulation and structure. While it contains oakmoss, amber, and citrus, it lacks the floral and patchouli components which are also standard technical parts of the classical style established in the early 1900s by Coty and Guerlain. Instead, Siberian deer musk, nutmeg, birch tar leather, and Mitsouko-style peach abound. Let’s take a deeper look.
Guerlain‘s Vol de Nuit is legendary among chypre (and narcissus) lovers, so I was curious to see how it fared in the age of IFRA with its draconian limits on oakmoss which, as many of you know, has now been legally restricted in perfumery to practically nonexistent levels. So let’s take a look at the current parfum, a sample of which I bought in early 2021.
I bought it on a whim, never expecting to be completely blown away by a radiant, luminous chypre and white floral with the classique lushness and verdant mossiness of old: Jardin Blanc by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier (“MPG”) absolutely dazzled my socks off.